"Oldies but Goodies!"

There are so many fun kids’ books out there from recent years that sometimes we forget about the great older books that are still fantastic reads today! If you or your children are looking for something new to read, why not try something “old?”

Newbery Medal winner The Westing Game, first published in 1978, is a wonderfully mind-twisting tale of a group of people—all potential heirs to the inheritance of an eccentric millionaire—who must race one another to solve the mystery of his death before one of them can claim the money. The fun quirks of the different characters keep the book interesting and funny, and make this a great story for older elementary readers.

A Long Way From Chicago, published in 1998, and its companion, A Year Down Yonder (2000), both by Richard Peck, are fantastic read-aloud stories and audio books. The Newbery Medal-winning A Long Way From Chicago is really a series of short stories, told from the perspective of a young boy who visits his wild grandmother with his sister during the Great Depression. Their visits produce all sorts of experiences and memories and make for a wonderful, heart-warming story that has stuck with me since I first had the book read to me in, well, 1998.

The Phantom Tollbooth (1961) opens with a terribly bored boy who can never find anything to do that amuses him. Arriving home from school one day to find a mysterious gift in his bedroom, he is ultimately transported to a magical land where he has grand adventures and even goes on a quest to save two princesses trapped in a castle in the air! Reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, this is an endlessly entertaining story with lots of great puns and wordplay.

Other lovely “older” reads are: All-of-a-Kind Family (1951), From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1967), Our Only May Amelia (1999), Harriet the Spy (1964), The Borrowers (1953), and Bud Not Buddy (1999).

Roar said Dragon!

This week in Ms. Amanda’s preschool storytimes we read books about dragons! Dragons who breathe fire and eat castles in The Paper Bag Princess, dragons who are looking for a friend in A Friend For Dragon, and dragons who count and make way too much noise in One Drowsy Dragon. Which shows you that not all dragons are as fierce as Smaug.

For more picture books featuring dragons check out this nice list. And to see what else we've been reading at storytimes this summer check out this list of books.

Summer Food and Fun: Cobblestone Farm Market

If you’re looking for something fun and healthy to do this summer, check out Cobblestone Farm Market, open Tuesdays 4-7 pm. To see the events calendar, click here. The market is in Buhr Park, 2751 Packard Road, off Packard near where Packard meets Eisenhower.

Mo’s Mustache

The world needs mo mustaches and Mo’s Mustache by Ben Clanton is a charming and funny new picture book that brings us MANY stylish and silly ‘staches. The awesome Mo is a trendsetter and his ‘stache styles are copied by many and Mo worries that he won’t stand out anymore. Can you be unique and still have the same mustache as those around you?!

Does YOUR ‘stache stand out?! For Mo and other mustache picture books here’s a handy dandy list for you.

Scary Murder Mystery – With Ghosts!

In the mood for something spooky this summer? Then give The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud a try.

This unusual murder mystery is set in an alternative England where ghosts have grown more and more active in the last few decades and Psychic Detection Agencies like Lockwood & Co. employ talented young agents to track down and destroy the sources of these hauntings. When Lucy and her fellow Lockwood & Co. agents uncover an unsolved murder while searching for the source of a haunting, they decide to solve the mystery with the help of the victim’s locket…but someone is out to make sure they never solve this case.

Full of adventure and genuinely scary encounters with ghosts, this story may be written for children but it is not for the faint of heart. Recommended for fans of Alvin Schwartz’s scary stories or older readers who enjoyed Libba Bray’s The Diviners.

Audiobook fans may also wish to check out the audiobook of The Screaming Staircase, which was named one of ALA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2014.

Parent’s Corner: Just Playin'

School’s out for summer! Okay, now how to keep the kids occupied all summer?! There are many books on play and engaging children, and several are located on the Parent Shelf. The Parent Shelf is located in the downtown youth area, and on this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from language to potty training to safety to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.” Here are a few on children and playtime.

* The unplugged play book: No batteries, no plugs, pure fun
* Fifty dangerous things (you should let your children do)
* The art of roughhousing: Good old-fashioned horseplay and why every kid needs it
* The preschooler's busy book

For more, check these items out.

Hogwarts for Fairy Tales

School may be out for the summer, but this summer is the perfect time to discover The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.

At this school, students learn how to be fairy-tale heroes and villains, with good students (known as Evers) attending classes like princess etiquette and animal communication and evil students (known as Nevers) tackling subjects like uglification and henchman training. The story focuses on two new students, best friends Sophie and Agatha, who seem to have been mixed up in the wrong schools. As golden-haired Sophie struggles in the School for Evil, trying to convince everyone she really belongs in the School for Good, foul-tempered Agatha just wants to escape the School for Good and return home.

Fans of the Harry Potter series will enjoy this new twist on a magical boarding school, complete with its own annual traditions, mythical creatures and unusual headmaster, while fans of Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm will appreciate its exploration of the darker side of fairy tales.

Art Table: Make a Comic Strip!

This month you can make yourr own comic strips at the Art Table in the youth area at the downtown branch! We have blank comic strips ready for your stories. Be sure to check it out next time you’re here.

At AADL we’re gearing up for Kids Read Comics which happens on June 21-22. If you’re a fan of comics, this is the place to be.

For the enthusiasts, here are some books on how to draw comics.

Geography Crafts for Kids

About now most kids are are counting down the days to summer break. However, summer doesn’t have to mean taking a break from learning. AADL has some great books that will have the whole family learning all summer long! The book Geography Crafts for Kids by Joe Rhatigan and Heather Smith offers hands on activities that will have learners of all ages thinking in new and exciting ways about the world we live in. Serve up some plate tectonics with a Pangea Pudding Puzzle or learn the art of cartography by mapping out your neighborhood. This book is filled with over 50 cool projects, along with illustrations and sidebars for parents. Check it out and learn about the world and beyond from your very own home!

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